Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Elder abuse risk factors
This video of an abusive caregiver serves as a warning. (By the way, if you think this kind of abuse is rare, you're naive.) Anytime you leave a vulnerable loved one with someone else, you run the risk of abuse. Caring for children, the elderly, or for the disabled can be a frustrating job, and the wrong kinds of people sometimes end up in this line of work. Second, we know from social science research that certain groups have higher rates of physical aggressiveness. If you have a choice, you might want to think twice about leaving a loved one with a man, a teenager, or a black person (the worker in the video appears to be Brazilian). Put all those characteristics together--an adolescent black male--the risk seems clearly too high. Of course, the reality is only a difference in probability, but we're talking about family here.
I don't have data that bears directly on the question, but will look for it.